Archive

Unraveling Our Jeans

As I read “The Ends Justify the Jeans” and reflected on the jeans in my history, I noticed a parallel. In the 1850s jeans were “loose and ill-fitting” and in the sixties they were a “feminist weapon against restrictive fashion, sexual objectification, passive feminity.” During my middle and most of high school school years, I wore my jeans loose and a size or two too big because I did not want to resemble most of the females  I saw.

They would wear form fitting jeans and get objectified by the males near them in the form of obnoxious calls or comments. For some reason most of those girls liked the attention they were getting and wore more provocative clothing. I associated jeans that show off your figure with foolish girls who wanted male attention.  Later on I started to think differently. Skinny jeans were everywhere and my peers continuously teased me for not being in style. I finally bought a pair to see what the fuss was about and wearing them did not make me foolish. My knowledge didn’t drop and I didn’t immediately start to act like the females I ignored.  Instead, I felt prettier. I came to the conclusion that as long as I was not uncomfortable, mainstream fashion wasn’t so bad.  I now own so many jeans that my younger self would be disappointed, but I was pretty closed minded. I thought that you couldn’t fret over your appearance and be smart too and I prided myself on my intelligence. Now I know better and don’t judge as much. My taste in jeans has shown how I have grown and, maybe, will continue to do so.

Jeans are a part of my everyday life and they have been ever since I can remember. This does not mean I do not have to wear jeans everyday for them to be a part of my day. Living in New York City you pass hundreds of people on the street and in the subways everyday. As a girl who is pretty into fashion I tend to notice a lot of different styles and types of jeans daily.  Somedays I might notice a pair of jeans that I totally love and want to go buy. And other days I see a pair I might not like as much. But no matter what someone is always wearing jeans.

I own just about every color jeans and have been collecting them for years now. Some pairs have been past down to me from my cousin and others I have given to my sister. I love watching the type of jeans that are in style of the years change. In middle school I remember everyone wearing jeans with holes all over them but not just little holes that are in style now. The jeans would literally be missing a piece of fabric that would cover your knee or thigh. And now people think you are crazy for wearing pants that beat up. And just a few years ago no one wore skinny jeans and now that is just about the only type of jeans I feel comfortable wearing. People all over the world wear jeans. I do not think jeans will ever go out of style or not be a part of my everyday life.

 

Jeans can represent a person, where they are from, their social status, economic status, and the jobs they may have. Just a pair of jeans can tell a lot about a person. Are they stylish? Are they expensive? What color are they? Just something this simple can tell you so much about a person. A wealthy man who works on wall street may not wear jeans to work but they may wear expensive jeans of the weekends. Meanwhile a middle class man who wears jeans to work everyday may just wear the same type of jeans he wore to work when he is off of work on the weekends.

Parachute cut. Baggy cut. Straight cut. Skinny cut. Super skinny cut. For the past 2 decades of my existence, this has been the development of denim. The more fashion develops, the slimmer denim becomes. I remember that when I was little, jeans we’re ONLY for hanging out. God forbid I wear jeans to church, or to a funeral, or to a wedding, my mother would rip them off of me and strangle me to death. She thought of them as tacky, and disrespectful in an elegant environment. Truth is, most of that generation had the same mindset as my mother. Many of my elders would agree and also hang me with a denim noose.

I think of all of my denim as a “genie in a bottle”. They are my go-to pairs of bottoms. If I am lazy, I throw on my jeans. If I am running to the store, I throw on my jeans. If I am hanging out in the city, I throw on my jeans. They are just so comfortable. Especially after they break in, it feels like I’m running around bottomless! (Sorry for the image).

Time and trends are respecters of no one. In the past few years, denim has grown on people. It seems as if literally over night, denim became dressy. In my teenage super rebellious years I decided to wear jeans to church. (I know, I know. I was a real rebel). But it seemed that everyone else was doing the same. People started to wear jeans with graphic tees and threw on a blazer over it. BAM! DRESSY! Men wore button downs with jeans and shoes. BAM! DRESSY! Women wore jeans, a blouse and heels. BAM! DRESSY! I didn’t start anything. Society changed together. We collectively and sub-consciously permitted denim to enter the category of “dressy”. The funny thing is, the lower and working class have been doing it since jeans we’re invented. It always seems to take forever for the upper class to catch up.

Abraham Ariel Vazquez

     The Ends Justify the Jeans creates a clear depiction of what exactly jeans use to mean for the masses. Today, the thought of jeans as a way of feminist rebellion and labor have faded, but many things have remained the same. Jeans will always be a connecting thread between people. Jeans have grown to define us as who we are and what our interests are. For example, skaters became most popularly known for wearing skinny jeans, a cut of jeans that went out of style during my childhood years and came back strong. It is said “history repeats itself” and jeans are a clear indication of this. Capitalism has brought us a host of options due to competition; skinny, boot-cut, wide leg, high rise, low rise, ripped, and the list goes on. Jeans can speak loudly about what type of person the wearer is perceived to be. The wearing of jeans has a taken a much more superficial turn.Jeans define not only our style but our economic standing as well. Though jeans can bring us together the difference in personal taste can tear us apart.

Attractiveness is valued highly in America, it is said that attractive people are more likely to be treated kindly and I’ve been witness to that. Walking down West 4th street in Manhattan I see a young girl walking towards me with a short leather coat and a thin shawl protecting her face and hair from the moist, frizz educing air. Though her face cannot be seen each man’s head whips around like a conveyor belt to feast eyes on the voluptuous curves of a woman whose face is unseen. She walks towards a bar door and much effort is given by another man to open the door before she reaches her destination. For women especially, the implication is given that we must possess sex appeal. Jeans have become a way of doing just that to please the Sir Mix a lot’s who “like big-butts and cannot lie.” Baggy jeans were at one time a statement for young men and women alike due to celebrity influence. Female rappers were spreading the message of female empowerment, but as the tides change so have our denim uniforms. Masculinity and femininity are clearly defined by the way our jeans are made and fit our bodies.The hundreds of cuts and styles of jeans we find in every store under various names allow us to reach our personal ideal of attractiveness. It seems as though more effort is put into trying to define ourselves based on style of denim rather than our actions.

Image

Alverneq Lindsay

After reading Ewen’s “The Ends Justify the Jeans,” I realized that time has definitely taken its toll on who wears jeans. In Ewen’s article he says jeans “were the clothes of hard-laboring people. They were loose and ill fitting and mass produced for men separated from their homes.” It just amazes me how denim was specifically worn by a certain type of people back in the days. But as time passes, different people come along with different means of thinking. I believe time equals change.

Today all types of people wear jeans from a homeless person to a college student to a person making millions. In Ewens article only the labor working people wore jeans. Today everyone wears jeans but different brands. Jeans can range from a $40 pair of Levis to a $250 and up pair of 7 For All Mankind, Rock and Republic or True Religion jeans. So the brand you wear defines who you are and only you define who you are.

As i grew up i noticed that my wardrobe has drastically changed, especially now that i think about it after reading this article, my choice of jeans has drastically changed. In high school and junior high school i didn’t really care for the kind of jeans i owned. They were “loose and ill-fitting” and would be stuck in my sneakers as i would walk. As i grew up i decided to buy more expensive jeans like 7 For All Mankind, Buffalo Bitton, True Religions, and Armani Exchange. These jeans were much more fitted and adjusted to my height. Things just change as one grows up. People go thru different phases, changing their style as well. You only live once and i dress to impress with fine threads. Winning best dressed in Highschool i just had to go out and buy myself some nice pair of jeans that not everyone owns like a pair of Levis, Calvin Klein or DKNY. I absolutely love jeans not only because their comfortable and can be worn almost anywhere except to some formal occasions, but also because they look super sexy on a woman with the right assets.

Expensive JANES

 

Faizan Mahmood (008)

At first I didn’t know what to think about jeans. I had no clue they symbolized such things like social equality or the rejection of postwar suburban society. To me they are simple casual items of clothing. Casual and versatile, think about it what don’t you do in jeans? but thats why we all own so many different pairs. This got me thinking, can jeans be seen as some sort of capitalist conquest for brand name companies to get their names in each and every house hold in the US and get their hands into each one of our wallets? We buy so many pairs and most times, especially with us teens and the younger community, it’s not because its cheap or anything, it seems that these companies are succeeding in getting their names everywhere and are getting more power from not only the free advertisements we as consumers offer but also how popular culture, through different forms of media, reach out to us.. What I don’t understand is why. Is it because we see these sexy and beautiful people in the ads having fun at the beach or the park and our lives will get better when we wear these clothes? Brand name companies feed off of the free advertisement from their consumers and popular culture to become more powerful because one pair of jeans should not cost this (<– link) much money, or this (<– link) much unless they knew people would buy it.

You haven't lived until you wear these jeans?

Jeans however have evolved a bit and now become a statement of a person’s style. Similar to how they were in the 70s jeans have come back in so many different colors and fits. Blue, green, white, red, purple, skinny, slim, straight, boot cut, relaxed take your picks! Anything you pick or choose is a reflection of your individuality and style. With the variety that jeans have these days what fits and colors and also how you wear them can be really unique and anyone can create their own style. A person can express their individuality a lot better now a days and its a collection of the small things, like jeans, put together that creates that individual.

As we have discussed in previous classes, they way one dresses says a lot about ones style and individuality. In Ewen’s piece The Ends Justify the Jeans, Jeans were worn by mostly peasants and working class people on oppose to the wealthy. In our society today, jeans are worn by all. Almost all jeans look the same except some are more fitted than others and there are color denims as well.  I view jeans as an equalizer because everyone wears jeans; no matter if it is a brand name or not. Even if it is a brand name, the logo is on the button or somewhere unnoticeable. Today, jeans can be  used casually but can be worn out to a fancy restaurant paired with a cute top unlike in the past where most women had to wear corsets and fancy dresses to each event.

Growing up in a religious home and attending an Orthodox elementary school and high school, I was not allowed to wear pants because it is not ‘modest’ for a women to dress this way. This way of thinking resembles the past where pants were viewed as a man attire only. Now, on aside from those who are observant, women wear pants/jeans comfortably without being judged as “unfeminine”